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A Republican state lawmaker in California has unveiled two legislative proposals that are designed as counter-punches against “cancel culture.”
But at least one state Democrat has already fired back, accusing the Republican of trying to promote “racist, pro-domestic terrorism, xenophobic, misogynistic views.”
State Sen. Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore, claims a “climate of intolerance has been established” in the Golden State – so she says she political affiliation should be a protected class under state law so residents can’t face discrimination over their political beliefs.
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She says her “Diversity of Thought Act” would protect people from discrimination over politics when seeking housing, bank loans or employment by amending the Fair Employment and Housing Act.
California state Sen. Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore
Her second bill would help protect students from facing bullying over their political views.
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“Cancel culture and the efforts to silence differing opinions and voices should be a growing concern for all of us,” Melendez — a U.S. Navy veteran, small business owner and mother of five children — said in a statement, according to the Los Angeles Times.
But Democratic state Assembly member Lorena Gonzalez of San Diego – who drew attention last May for her “F— Elon Musk” tweet in reaction to the Tesla CEO threatening to pull jobs out of California – fired back at Melendez.
California Assembly member Lorena Gonzalez speaks in San Diego, Oct. 19, 2017. (Reuters)
“Your choice to hate & actively puruse hate does not make you part of a protected class,” Gonzalez wrote on Twitter.
Just three months before her anti-Musk tweet, Gonzalez was caught on video shouting “F— Donald Trump!” at a campaign event for then-presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.
Under Melendez’s bills, political affiliation would be considered a “protected class,” shielded from discrimination just as residents are protected legally because of race, gender or sexual orientation.
In 2018, for example, a Sacramento-area homeowner made headlines after saying she didn’t want to sell her home to anyone who supported former President Donald Trump.
Elsewhere in California, employees in the tech and entertainment industries have been amongthose filing lawsuits in recent years, claiming they faced backlash over their political opinions.
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The bills by Melendez would appear to make such situations illegal under state law.
“It is unfathomable to me that corporations and members of the public would ruin a person’s career, business and family because of their political ideology,” Melendez added, according to The Hill. “Free speech covers all speech, not just that with which you agree.”
Melendez was elected in May to represent California’s 28th state Senate district.